Here’s What You Need to Know About Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment for Hair Loss
By now you’re probably familiar with, or at least have heard of the “vampire facial,” a skin treatment that essentially uses your own blood to help facilitate a glowing, youthful complexion. What you probably haven’t heard of is that there’s a similar treatment for hair loss, and yes, it requires your blood, too.
It’s called platelet-rich plasma, a.k.a. PRP, says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Here’s how it works: “Our blood is made of two main components, red blood cells, and plasma,” he says. “The plasma contains white blood cells and platelets, which are rich in growth factors.”
Growth factors, in a sense, play the role of messengers, signalling skin cells to function. In fact, they’ve been used in medicine to treat a range of health issues, including arthritis, signs of aging, etc. The good news for anyone with thinning hair, says Zeichner, is that growth factors can “help stimulate the activity of the hair follicles and promote new hair growth.”
The use of PRP is “a great treatment option for hair loss because it has a number of scientifically based articles showing its efficacy increasing hair count, hair thickness, and the growth phase of the hair cycle,” says Neil Sadick, dermatologist in New York City and the director of the Sadick Research Group for understanding and treating hair loss. He adds the treatment has been gaining popularity around the world within the last few years.
As with most procedures, there is a careful process involved in using PRP for hair regrowth, beginning with a standard blood draw from the patient’s arm. Next, Zeichner says, “the tube of blood is put into a machine called a centrifuge, which spins the blood tube to separate out the red blood cells from the plasma. The plasma, rich in platelets, is then injected directly into the scalp at the level of the hair follicles.”
The process is meticulous — with injections beginning across the scalp, approximately at every half inch over the area of thinning hair — but typically, the entire procedure takes less than a half hour.
It might sound scary (blood draws and needles?!), but for the most part, there’s no real risk associated with PRP. “Most patients get injections without any numbing, as there is minimal discomfort,” says Zeichner. “However, cool air or ice packs may be used to minimize pain.” In the event there is any discomfort, Tylenol after the procedure is also recommended. Bruising can occur but usually resolves within a week or two.
Minimal downtime, if any, is needed, while Zeichner adds, “I personally recommend a warm shower, as the hot temperature will enhance blood flow and circulation throughout the scalp,” he says. This means going a day (or two) without your typical hair maintenance (coloring, processing, blow-drying, etc.).
Who it works for.
Anyone experiencing hair loss is essentially a good candidate for PRP treatments, but those with early hair loss tend to respond best.
For best results, consistency is key. Treatments are typically performed monthly, and then every three to six months thereafter, depending on the client’s response and results. Anticipated results can usually be seen within two to three months.
PRP treatments aren’t necessarily an easy or quick fix, but they are a medically and scientifically backed option if you are looking for hair-loss solutions.
PRP treatments for hair loss at $990 per treatments.